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Part 2 – Developing the skill of blending

The next three letter sounds are introduced, forming them correctly and demonstrating how more words can be blended.

Part 2: Developing the skill of blending

 

Next comes the /i/ letter sound (so we now have /s/, /a/, /t/ and /i/). This is not a tall letter, so it starts in the usual place and goes down to the line and round, with the dot going a little bit above the dotted line [demonstration]. Now we can have three more words – /s-i-t/ sit, /i-t/ it and /i-t-s/ its – as well as practising the previous ones: /s-a-t/ sat and /a-t/ at.

 

After /i/ comes /p/. This letter looks like a tall letter but it is not and the children should start in the usual place. They go down to the line and continue right under it, then bounce up and ‘push the ball round’ [demonstration]. Now we have even more words for blending: /p-a-t/ pat, /t-a-p/ tap, /t-i-p/ tip, and so on. Each time a new letter sound is taught, more words become available for blending.

The last letter sound in the first group is the /n/ sound. So now we have all six letter sounds: /s/, /a/, /t/, /i/, /p/ and /n/.  It is not a tall letter; it starts in the usual place and does not go under the line. Instead, it goes down to the writing line, then bounces up and over, just as it gets near the top [demonstration].

 

Once again more words are available for blending practice – whether they are on cards, or made with plastic letters, or on the board in the classroom – so that the children can say the sounds and blend the words, such as /a-n-t/ ant, /t-i-n/ tin, /p-a-n/ pan, and so on.

 

Gradually, all 18 letter sounds are introduced. As the letter sounds are taught, it is important to continue to say the sounds in a pure way: that is /nnn/ and not /n-uh/. There are some letter sounds that have an /uh/ sound on the end, such as /d/, /g/ and /b/, and it is impossible to avoid that /uh/ sound. The secret is to try and say the sounds with as little /uh/ as possible. The pronunciation of the 18 letter sounds can be heard in the Resources section on the home page.

 

As each new letter sound is introduced, the children should be asked to blend words that use the new letter sound and the letter sounds that have already been taught. This not only improves their blending skills but it also revises the letter sounds all the time. After a word has been blended a few times, it becomes known and then can be read automatically.

 

By the end of Step 1 several children in a class will be able to do this and these children rarely have problems with the mechanics of learning to read: the skill of blending is a knack that just seems to click. Sometimes I think it is possible to see the light dawn on a child: Aaah I get it. I can work it out. And it is this that helps give the children enormous confidence.

 

Gradually – with practice – the knack comes to the other children. And once they have the knack of blending, there is no need to model it: just ask the children to work the words out for themselves. They need plenty of blending practice to develop fluency. And the faster the blending, the easier it is for the children to read words.

  • Step 1 - Word Bank

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on coloured card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 1 - Word Bank - print letters

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on colored card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 1 - Letter Sounds

    The first 18 letter sounds taught in Step 1. They can be used as flash cards to help the children remember the sounds linked to the letters or for word building practice.

  • Step 1 - Letter Sounds - print letters

    On these sheets the children are able to practise forming the first 18 letters correctly by following the dots.

  • Step 1 - Letter Formation - bw

    On these sheets the children are able to practise forming the first 18 letters correctly by following the dots.

  • Step 1 - Letter Formation - colour

    On these sheets the children are able to practise forming the first 18 letters correctly by following the dots.

  • Step 1 - Letter Formation - b&w - print letters

    On these sheets the children are able to practice forming the first 18 letters correctly by following the dots.

  • Step 1 - Letter Formation - color- print letters

    On these sheets the children are able to practice forming the first 18 letters correctly by following the dots.

  • Step 1 - Word Bank

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on coloured card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 1 - Word Bank - print letters

    The words from the Word Bank can be printed on colored card, cut up and used for blending practice. As each new letter sound is taught then more words become available for blending.

  • Step 1 - Dictation Words - b&w

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.

  • Step 1 - Dictation Words - colour

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.

  • Step 1 - Dictation Words - b&w - print letters

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.

  • Step 1 - Dictation Words - color - print letters

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.

  • Step 1 - Writing Sheet - narrow lines - b&w

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.

  • Step 1 - Writing Sheet - narrow lines - colour

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.

  • Step 1 - Writing Sheet - wide lines - b&w

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.

  • Step 1 - Writing Sheet - wide lines - colour

    These words have been carefully selected. The children should be able to spell the dictated words correctly by listening for the sounds in the words and writing letters to represent the sounds. They progressively build up until all 18 letter sounds are used.